Back in 1986 I attended a personal development workshop called Money and You. The facilitator was Robert Kiyosaki. (Author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series). The driving impulse to attend was a desire to make more money. I suspect I also wanted to understand the money system, as curiosity has been one of my main values. The experience was life changing, but not for the reasons I anticipated. For the next eight years I was involved with Excellerated Learning, the company behind Money and You. I attended all of their events, and volunteered as a logistics person for many more. It was a very large part of my life. I made some of my best friends through this experience, people I still connect with today. I was introduced to the work of Buckminster Fuller, who has become my number one mentor, a role he still holds 25 years later.
Each year I attended the Global Leaders Program, which was an annual event held in the first week in January on the big island of Hawaii. One of these seven day events was dedicated to studying Bucky, using the video recording made of him delivering 21 hours of his life’s work just before he died.
Most times I love Bucky and his dignity, courage and breadth of work. Sometimes his principles, principles I hold dear to my own life, drive me nuts. They challenge the heck out of me.
We ‘emerge through emergency’…honestly Bucky, sometimes I would like to emerge through luxury and abundance. I am over the seat of the pants stuff.
“We either make money or we make sense, because the two are mutually exclusive.” Boy have I sat with that one for years…still trying to figure it out…
And the cornerstone to my life…on integrity…to do what is spontaneously arousable from within you for the highest good for the highest number of people….
Interestingly, while I did learn how to ‘make money’ I chose not to. The methods of doing this never rocked my world. To make money for the sake of making money never made sense to me. Where was my passion in that, my life force energy? The score was not enough. While there was a part of me that yearned for the stuff..houses, clothes, travel, fine dining…the yearning was not as strong as the yearning to uncover/discover the way I was designed to express myself in the world and in doing so, add my unique value.
In October 2006 I was in the USA. In the space of one week two significant events occurred. I was introduced to Bernard Lietaer by my friend and colleague, Christopher Cooke. During this conversation Bernard, a world renowned economist and a Jungian Analyst, explained his concurrent currency, the terra. My jaw hit the floor when it became apparent that by introducing this currency people would shift their thinking and actions from short term to long term in a blink of an eye…and all based on greed. In other words, they would increase their ‘wealth’ by thinking long term. Why did my jaw hit the floor…in my world of work, I work with human behaviour change. I have trouble getting people to change the way they brush their teeth, yet alone make large scale changes such as switching to long term thinking! I left this conversation with my head spinning.
About a week later I was running in St Louis, listening to audio on my ipod. I listen to hours of audio, interviews and lectures. This day I heard from a guy by the name of David Martin, now a member of our team in The Constellation. David is a very powerful speaker and story teller. He described, not as a prediction, but as a series of events that were falling due, the entire global economic crisis. (Remember this was late 2006).
From these two events I left the USA realising my understanding of the global economic system was very poor. I was determined to become educated. For the past four years I have read books on the economy and articles on global events and the economy, with a great commitment to learning. I also went back to Bucky’s work on the global economy, work I had previously dismissed as being too much like conspiracy theories. Re-reading Bucky’s ‘Grunch Of Giants,’ and the other material, I came to the recognition that I was still very far from understanding the global economic system.
Here is how I describe it….If the global economic system was a language, like Mandarin, I am probably able to count to ten fluently. (My understanding of the system is enough for me to count to ten, even after all of these years of diligent study.) Most people in the world probably can count to one, two or three. The leader of Australia would be lucky to be able to count to ten, Obama may be able to count, but he cannot speak the whole language. Indeed, I gestimate that about 1% of the population speaks the language of the global economic system fluently. (As in they really understand it completely.) Of this 1%, the majority of these people have an invested interest in keeping the rest of the world in the dark.
The very scary aspect of this is that people are making decisions about the future of humanity without understanding the very system that it is based upon. Also, many people are out there working at solutions without even beginning to understand the current reality. From a medical point of view, this would be like prescribing a medication, or surgery, without knowing the diagnosis.
Over the last year an idea has started to incubate. I have become aware that for the last 25 years one of the consistent threads in my life has been around understanding the global economic/value system. Further, I now know three people who do understand the system, while simultaneously also having the wisdom and integrity to want to bring light to this system for the good of all humanity, and not just a select few. Two of these people I have so far engaged in my idea.
In the last few months, my idea has begun to germinate. I sat down with a clean sheet of paper and asked myself what is the ONE thing that I would choose to do that animates me more than any other thing AND would meet the conditions Bucky set…to do the highest good for the highest number of people. There is no question that my ‘idea’ is that one thing.
Here is my seed idea. ( I identify it as a seed idea because great ideas are supposed to grow and emerge, and in the process change form. I am not attached to the form of the idea, but to the intention behind it.)
First, to bring light to the current reality of the global economic system, and secondly, in so doing with exquisite care and wisdom, to support the crafting and co-creation of new models that honour the value and contribution of people, the environment, the future, communities, enterprise, and all the subsequent field effects, and for generations hence.
Initially to bring a small group of people together for five days, including the three people I know who understand this system, plus a few other people such as a cell biologist, and a master game designer. This conversation will address the following questions.
What do we create, to be delivered to whom, how, and at what effect?
And then to create the first prototype.
Intrinsic in the design must be the awareness of the field effect of this offering. For example, if everyone in the USA/Australia understood the current economic system tomorrow, what would happen?
I believe we would have a revolution, blood on the streets, violence, mayhem and massive stock losses. We would also have serious depression, denial, and a bunch of people focused entirely on capitalising on the situation through greed and blind opportunistic tendencies.
The question what we do create and delivered to whom is one requiring wisdom and deep consideration. How we manage the roll out and ongoing effects is also critical.
What I see, which is subject to evolve, is the creation of a three day experiential game. Specifically, what I mean by experiential, is that at the completion of the game, participants would leave with an embodied, not just an intellectual, understanding of the system.
I see a large space with a map of the world on the floor, and different forms of trading etc going on. People to people, country to country. However, I am very clear that I can only count to 10, so I am not the intelligence behind the game. I am clear that I am the engine room. I have the commitment, energy and passion to drive this project and hold the space for it to emerge.
I also see that we invite about 20 students from around the world to apply to participate in the first game, with the other invited participants. These students would participate at no charge, with the understanding they would return to other games as volunteer logistics support. By repeating the game, even as a logistics person, their learning would deepen.
I see that the initial participants would be thoughtfully selected and invited. Who are the people in the world who are critical acupuncture points for this kind of embodied knowledge? They must also have wisdom and deep respect for the integrity of this knowledge.
A Round Two game would be created for past participants to reconvene to now play for solutions. These solutions may be small in origin but large in effect, they may be concurrent to the current system, like Bernard’s Terra, or they may involve whole system change. We cannot know what will emerge until the wisdom is invited into the game.
Genius can arise from an environment where we start with Universe- when we know exactly what we are dealing with.
Why do I see this as the biggest game of all?
The world has some unquestionably serious issues to address. Climate change, peak oil, energy, population growth, food security, health, water, poverty, for example.
The connector in all of these is our value system. The global economic system. If we do not really understand this system, its shadow and light, then any change is not a real change…we are simply moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.
Why is it that masters of making money from money, without adding any true value to the world, get paid obscene fee’s, while the person teaching our children get paid next to nothing? Why are our measures so narrow? When will be start to include the all in cost of our actions. The cost to the environment, to communities, to the future? Plus the love economy…all the unpaid work that has not been considered ‘of value’. Is it acceptable that our superannuation funds grow because the companies making profit are exploiting both environment and communities in remote regions of the world, so we can have a happy retirement?
I have a sense that all of my years of work, exploration, heart ache, searching, kissing frogs…has lead to this point.
Circling back to Bucky, his principle was based on committing to do what was spontaneously arousable from within you for the highest good for all.